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the conspiracy, assuming the part of the avenger of blood, the murderer and all his family were put to death, and their bodies committed to the flames; but this act of seeming justice did not free Rukn-ed-deen from suspicion, and the bitter reproaches of his mother were poured forth on him as a parricide.

The termination of the power of the Ismaïlites was now at hand. Rukn-ed-deen had hardly ascended the throne of his murdered father when he learned that an enemy was approaching against whom all attempts at resistance would be vain.

CHAPTER XI.

The Mongols-Hoolagoo sent against the Ismaïlites--Rukned-deen submits-Capture of Alamoot-Destruction of the Library-Fate of Rukn-ed-deen-Massacre of the Ismaïlites -St. Louis and the Assassins-Mission for the Conversion of the People of Kuhistan-Conclusion.

HALF a century had now elapsed since the voice of the Mongol seer on the banks of the Sélinga had announced to the tribes of that race that he had seen in a vision the Great God sitting on his throne and giving sentence that Temujeen, one of their chiefs, should be Chingis Khan (Great Khan), and the obedient tribes had, under the leading of Temujeen, commenced that career of conquest which extended from the eastern extremity of Asia to the confines of Egypt and of Germany. At this time the chief power over the Mongols was in the hands of Mangoo, the grandson of Chingis, a prince advantageously made known to Europe by the long abode of the celebrated Venetian Marco Polo at his court. The Mongols had not yet invaded Persia, though they had, under Chingis himself, overthrown and stripped of his dominions the powerful sultan of Khaurism. It was however evident that that country could not long escape the fate of so many extensive and powerful states, and that a pretext would soon be found for pouring over it the hordes of the Mongols.

We are told, though it seems scarcely credible, that ambassadors came from the Khalif of Bagdad to Nevian, the Mongol general who commanded on the northern frontier of Persia, requiring safe conduct

to the court of Mangoo. The object of their mission was to implore the great khan to send his invincible troops to destroy those pests of society the bands of the Ismaïlites. The prayer of the envoys of the successor of the Prophet was supported by the Judge of Casveen, who happened to be at that time at the court of Mangoo, where he appeared in a coat of mail, to secure himself, as he professed, from the daggers of the Assassins. The khan gave orders to assemble an army; his brother Hoolagoo was appointed to command it, and, as he was setting forth, Mangoo thus addressed him :

"With heavy cavalry and a mighty host I send thee from Tooran to Iran, the land of mighty princes. It behoves thee now strictly to observe, both in great and in small things, the laws and regulations of Chinghis Khan, and to take possession of the countries from the Oxus to the Nile. Draw closer unto thee by favour and rewards the obedient and the submissive; tread the refractory and the rebellious, with their wives and children, into the dust of contempt and misery. When thou hast done with the Assassins begin the conquest of Irak. If the Khalif of Bagdad comes forward ready to serve thee, thou shalt do him no injury; if he refuses, let him share the fate of the rest."

The army of Hoolagoo was reinforced by a thousand families of Chinese firemen to manage the battering machines and fling the flaming naphtha, known in Europe under the name of Greek fire. He set forward in the month Ramazan of the 651st year of the Hejra (A. D. 1253). His march was so slow that he did not cross the Oxus till two years afterwards. On the farther bank of this river he took the diversion of lion-hunting, but the cold came on so intense that the greater part of his horses Ferished, and he was obliged to wait for the ensuing

spring before he could advance. All the princes of the menaced countries sent embassies to the Mongol camp announcing their submission and obedience. The head-quarters of Hoolagoo were now in Khorassan, whence he sent envoys to Rukn-ed-deen, the Ismaïlite chief, requiring his submission. By the advice of the astronomer Nasir-ed-deen, who was his counsellor and minister, Rukn-ed-deen sent to Baissoor Noobeen, one of Hoolagoo's generals, who had advanced to Hamadan, declaring his obedience and his wish to live in peace with every one. The Mongol general recommended that, as Hoolagoo himself was approaching, Rukn-ed-deen should wait on him in person. After some delay, the latter agreed to send his brother Shahinshah, who accompanied the son of Baissoor to the quarters of the Mongol prince. Meantime Baissoor, by the orders of Hoolagoo, entered the Ismaïlite territory and drew near to Alamoot. The troops of the Assassins occupied a steep hill near that place. The Mongols attacked them, but were repelled each time they attempted the ascent. Being forced to give over the attack, they contented themselves with burning the houses and ravaging the country round.

When Shahinshah reached the camp of Hoolagoo and notified the submission of his brother, orders to the following effect were transmitted to the mountainchief:-" Since Rukn-ed-deen has sent his brother unto us, we forgive him the offences of his father and his followers. He shall himself, as, during his short reign, he has been guilty of no crime, demolish his castles and come to us." Orders were sent at the same time to Baissoor to give over ravaging the district of Roodbar. Rukn-ed-deen began casting down some of the battlements of Alamoot, and at the same time sent to beg the delay of a year before appearing in the presence of Hoolagoo. But the

orders of the Mongol were imperative; he was required to appear at once, and to commit the defence of his territory to the Mongol officer who was the bearer of Hoolagoo's commands. Rukn-ed-deen hesitated. He sent again to make excuses and ask more time; and, as a proof of his obedience, he directed the governors of Kuhistan and Kirdkoh to repair to the Mongol camp. The banners of Hoolagoo were now floating at the foot of Demavend, close to the Ismaïlite territory, and once more orders came to Maimoondees, where Rukn-ed-deen and his family had taken refuge :- "The Ruler of the World is now arrived at Demavend, and it is no longer time to delay. If Rukn-ed-deen wishes to wait a few days he may in the mean time send his son." The affrighted chief declared his readiness to send his son, but, at the persuasion of his women and advisers, instead of his own, he sent the son of a slave, who was of the same age, requesting that his brother might be restored to him. Hoolagoo was soon informed of the imposition, but disdained to notice it otherwise than by sending back the child, saying he was too young, and requiring that his elder brother, if he had one, should be sent in place of Shahinshah. He at the same time dismissed Shahinshah with these words:-"Tell thy brother to demolish Maimoondees and come to me; if he does not come, the eternal God knows the consequences."

The Mongol troops now covered all the hills and valleys, and Hoolagoo in person appeared before Maimoondees. The Assassins fought bravely, but Rukn-ed-deen had not spirit to hold out. He sent his other brother, his son, his vizir Nasir-ed-deen, and the principal persons of the society, bearing rich presents to the Mongol prince. Nasir-ed-deen was directed to magnify the strength of the Ismaïlite fortresses in order to gain good terms for his master;

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